Only days before his scheduled State of the Union address to congress and the American people President Obama's post-reelection bounce in job approval appears to be fading.
The most notable of several new polls comes from a Friday Quinnipiac University release. In that poll the President hexperiences a rather dramatic drop in support from American voters from their previous post-election survey taken a month after his election victory over Mitt Romney. His approval rating has dropped seven-points and his current approval to disapproval margin stands at 46-45%. That's down from a 53-40% gap two months ago and a return to his mid-40s percent approval indicated by the polling firm through much of 2012.
Obama is as popular with Democrats as he is unpopular with Republicans. Quinnipiac measures his highly polarized approval rating with the former at 87-7% and his disapproval margin with the latter at 87-7%. More alarming for the President is his sudden drop among independents who he struggled to bring on board during his reelection campaign last year. Independents now disapprove of the President's job performance by a 47-40% split. Obama also wins just 40% approval from men and 38% from non-Hispanic whites. On the flip side he remains popular with women voters (52%), Hispanics (64%), and blacks (87%).
Perhaps a receding political tide lowers all boats as President Obama's recent drop in approval has company with the Republican led congress. In spite of their January fiscal cliff negotiations with the President and Democrats the GOP congress posts their worst approval rating in years. According to the Quinnipiac poll just 19% of American voters approve of the way they've been handling their job against a whopping 72% who disapprove. Congressional Democratic approval has dipped as well but at a 33-59% they remain decidedly less unpopular than their GOP counterparts.
While tracking a more dramatic shift than most Quinnipiac isn't the only polling firm showing a decline in approval rating for the President. Daily Rasmussen tracking has Obama down to a 52% approval today from recent highs of 56%. CBS showed the President scoring a 57-37% approval margin in mid-December that has trending downward to a 51-41% split as of middle January.
On the other hand certain other pollsters have indicated a measure of consistency with Obama's ratings. Fox News tracked Obama at only a 48-46% approval margin in early-December when most other pollsters had him well into the 50-percentiles. That rating dipped further to a 47-47% split in January, but has since rebounded modestly to a 49-45% margin as measured this past week. Public Policy Polling who proved to be one of the most accurate pollsters during the 2012 election cycle also has shown the President consistently in the high-40s - currently measuring Obama's job approval at a 49-48% split.
Gallup who was highly erratic prior to the election and until recently has also stabilized as of late. On January 18th the pollster indicated a drop in approval for Obama down to just 48%, but then rebounding to 53% just four days later. For the last week straight however Gallup has shown the President scoring precisely a 52% approval from American adults - 43% currently disapprove.
Ultimately though the recent trend has been pointing downward for the President. Talking Points Memo who aggregates the results of many polls has Obama's a current approval margin of 50.3-45.3%. While still decidedly on the plus side it does indicate three-percent decline (53.3-42.3%) from the President's recent post-election high on December 24th.
Recent history tells us that such modest declines in popularity are not uncommon. George W. Bush at the same point Obama is now - early in his second term - stood at a 51% approval rating from Gallup after pulling in just under-51% of the popular vote in his November, 2004 reelection victory over Democrat John Kerry. Bush has reached 57% a week earlier before the sudden drop. On the other hand Bill Clinton's approval rating, which stood at 54% on Election Day 1996 when he defeated Republican Bob Dole by 8.5-percentage points, spiked to 57% just prior to his State of the Union address in 1997.